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Will Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey Really Leave Grey's Anatomy?

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Patrick Dempsey recently said that the upcoming eighth season of Grey's Anatomy is likely going to be his last. But is there any chance he could be back beyond that?

He didn't sound like it when he said that leaving would be “bittersweet because it’s been great and a great part of my life, but I can’t see me doing it anymore.”

Still, a rep for the actor backtracked a bit late yesterday.

"He was referring to the fact that his contract is up at the end of next season and we have no idea what the future holds," Dempsey's rep tells E! News.

In the Bed

So while there's still the possibility that Dempsey will hang up his stethoscope in 2012, especially if Ellen Pompeo packs it in, nothing is set in stone yet.

"No one has asked us to come back after season eight, so I couldn't presume that I'm coming back... if I haven't been invited," Pompeo said last week.

The long and short of it is that the original cast is only under contract through May 2012. Beyond that, a new deal must be offered - and agreed to.

The cast members would be free to go their separate ways summber, and having spent seven years on (and banked millions from) Grey's, they may do so.

The show certainly has a lot of characters at this stage, but are Derek and Meredith (and Cristina, among others) crucially central to Grey's Anatomy?

Put another way, would the show lose viewers without them? Or would newer stars be able to step in and carry the baton for many seasons to come?

Leave a comment and discuss below ...

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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if they go i will stop watching grey's anatomy

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Please don't don't don't leave i love you Ellen and Patrick i really love you and I'd you leave you will brack my heart cause i love this show so much and i want to be a doctor cause of it don't leave but really these messages don't really mater to you do they just i love you Patrick

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Patrick and Ellen can't leave honestly i could watch Greys anatomy all.... day if it was on tv able day ever day and i love both of them and i love derea i could look at his face all day i think he's th cutiest guy i have ever seen and I'm 13 and he's a man and if he leaves well be really me know and i am watching Greys anatomy right now i love Derek really i do

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If the actor change or dead I will not see this show again!On that time the show is dead!

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If the main characters leave, I will not be watching the show anymore. Shows don't work when the main characters go or are killed off.

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Ellen & Patrick PLEASE dont leave! I grew up with you guys, your like family! I have told my family, repeatedly incase they forget... if I ever get altzheimers set me up with box set 1-8 (and the rest) play them on a loop and I will die with a smile on my face!!!

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If Patrick and Ellen leave, then Grey's won't be the same. The whole Mer/Der relationship is the mainpoint of the show, and if they aren't in it, then i dunno what i would do. We have watched all the way through their relationship, from the one night stand, and all the break ups and get back togethers, and the postit marriage, the real marriage and even Zola. What would Grey's be without them? I'd still watch if it stayed on, but it really wouldn't be the same. They have to stay.

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Meredith and Derek are Grey's Anatomy but especially Meredith Hence the name Grey. How could they continue the show? If they continued after she left it would be like watching a dog who was near death lay in pain until finally it takes its last breath. I guess I would commend them for trying but come on we all know the show won't make it without Meredith. If Derek left her like divorced and moved on maybe but if she goes they may as well call a curtain call and be done with it. You know they will come back, there is no reason to get worried about it they are saying all of this so they can renegotiate their contracts and make even more money on top of the millions they have already made from the show. Of Course this beats a 9-5 job Of course, they are not going to give that up!

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Please Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo don't leave the show. I agree with all the other views expressed, you TOGETHER are Grey's Anatomy. Your love affair and finally getting together is what makes this show. Mer&Der forever as long as Greys lasts. Shona Rimes you have created an amazing story - please keep up the good work - don't let these two characters break up EVER!!!!

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I would have to say if any of the original cast members don't come back next year i would stop watching the show i love greys anatomy but i cant picture it without the original cast it just wouldnt be the same without them i hate to say i would stop watching it but i don't think it would be as good as it is right now with out any of them.